The challenge I face a lot is the gap there is between what both our cultures call efficiency. Here, efficiency means a lot of people acting in the same direction but not necessarily reaching a result.
Example – I went to the bank this morning to update my address, simply because the online option to do so only exists in Japanese. 2 persons welcomed me at reception to understand my needs and list them on a form. I received a ticket 501, the 1st one of the day. 1 of them went checking who would take care of me. She came back saying they were getting the office ready for me (???). 2 persons came to me and took me to the office. After repeating my list of needs a second time, they agreed and asked me to fill a form with my address. Once completed, they reviewed and said that the M of Minato-ku (my prefecture) was creating a risk of error in processing (???) and so I had to complete a new form. Once completed, they asked me to wait so they would ask their supervisor to approve (approve what? It is my address and I have evidence of it). After 5mn, they came back saying that “good news, it is approved” … I feel so relieved. … and explained it will take between 3 and 5 days to process this as a specific team handles this.
So? 7 persons for an address that I would have updated on the internet anywhere else.
But they are happy. I reached my objective. Japan has full employment and attention to details (the M in this case) is present at all steps